About the Vandalia Art Installation and Artists

Mike Elsass (b.1947) American, FAURORA RED-OLD RT. 25Acrylic, oil, steel strips, pumice, turmeric, tar, silica sand, and glass beads on weathered steel, Collection of the Dayton Metro Library, 2016.16

In this large scale work Elsass references the bold color of Dale Chihuly’s Aurora Red Ikebana from 2001. Applying multiple layers of paint and other organic material, Elsass paints, sponges, and sands, often building as many as 40 layers on these steel sheets until the final glazing.

About the Artist

MIKE ELSASS is a nationally recognized artist with work in over 2,000 private collections. Though mostly self-taught, Mike acknowledges Roger Sayre as his mentor. Mike has his studios in Dayton, OH and specializes in painting color field inspired work on weathered steel. Mindful of the moment when paint, color, texture and discovery meet, Elsass considers his art spiritual and meditative. For more information about this artist please visit:

Suzanne Ley (b.1954) American, WHAT GETS YOUR ATTENTION?2016, Acrylic on metal, Collection of the Dayton Metro Library, 2016.17

Springboro, Ohio artist Suzanne Ley is known for her expressively realistic work. In this triptych, Ley anticipated the installation of a large work suspended in the atrium of the library, and paints a group of spectators enthusiastically looking up, many with cell phones and cameras ready. Loosely based on photographs of actual patrons of the Vandalia library, the artist invites visitors to pose for a “selfie” in front of her work.

About the Artist

SUZANNE LEY was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and studied painting and drawing at Arizona State University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Ley has won numerous local and regional awards and is represented in public and private collections. She lives and works from her studio in Springboro, Ohio. For more information visit

Stephen Canneto (b.1943) American, CURRENTS, 2016, Dichrolaminated acrylic and stainless steel aircraft cable, Collection of the Dayton Metro Library, 2016.15

Columbus artist, Stephen Canneto creates large scale public art using diverse styles, materials and themes to bring people together to enjoy the site and to celebrate community. In this work he uses dichrolaminate, an innovative material which reflects and transmits the changing colors of light. Comprised of interwoven ribbons and fuselage forms referencing Dayton’s rich aviation history the work flows through the library like fresh currents of air.

About the Artist

STEPHEN CANNETO | Columbus artist Stephen Canneto designed his first memorial in Israel in 1967, honoring the victims of the Six Day War. With over 200 art works, Canneto helps to bring identity, meaning and enjoyment to the spaces his works occupy. Canneto’s relationship to sculpture is rooted in a love of the natural world, built environment and a fascination with the tension between nature, humanity and technology. He draws inspiration from the positive life forces that bind all things together. For more about this artist please visit

The Stories Behind the Vandalia Art Inspiration

From the Collection of the Dayton Art Institute

Aurora Red Ikebana with Bright Yellow Stems, Dale Chihuly (b. 1941), American, 2001, Blown glass. Artist Dale Chihuly was one of the original members of the Studio Glass Movement that moved glass-making from the factory setting to the studio. Ikebana is the traditional Japanese art form of flower arrangement. This piece is made from three separate pieces: one vase and two flowers.

Rationale for inclusion: Like the new library, this piece combines traditional usage and forms with new and exciting ideas, colors and outcomes.

View this artwork and learn more by clicking here, opens a new window or visit The Dayton Art Institute.

Study of Heads of an Old Man, Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1641), Flemish, c. 1612, Oil on oak panel. Peter Paul Rubens' use of sensuous color and bold movement have made him one of the most definitive artists of the Baroque era. Study Heads of an Old Man was probably created in anticipation of a larger work, Christ and the Adulterous Woman, but when the museum received the painting it
showed only one face. A dealer had probably painted out the second face some time ago in order to sell the work as a portrait, rather than a study.

Rationale for inclusion: The fascinating story of this painting's surprise second face would make a great novel!

View this artwork and learn more by clicking here, opens a new window or visit The Dayton Art Institute.

How did these pieces inspired our artists?

“With its beautiful colors and emphasis on form and balance, Chihuly’s work inspired my choice of colors as well as my use of organic materials.” - - Mike Elsass, artist

“My painting references Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement in its simplified composition and implied connection of the outdoors to the indoors.” - Suzanne Ley, artist


Currents is inspired by Chihuly’s Aurora Red Ikebana which also combines traditional usage and forms with new and exciting ideas, colors and outcomes. The dynamic and graceful movement of the sculpture symbolizes the flow of ideas and creative energy throughout the library and into the surrounding community. - Stephen Canneto, artist

Photos of ReImagining Works pieces taken by Andy Snow.

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